October 14, 2011

Companies failing to meet women directors’ targets

by Jan Harris

While FTSE 100 companies have made some progress in increasing the percentage of female executives, more needs to be done in order to meet targets.

A review into female representation in boardrooms was launched six months ago by Lord Davies, the former chief executive of Standard Chartered bank.

Since then just 33 FTSE 100 companies have introduced a strategy to increase the number of women in boardrooms by more than 10 per cent, the figure recommended by Lord Davies’s review.

A progress report by the Cranfield School of Management shows that the number of female FTSE 100 directors has grown from 12.5 per cent to 14.2, while the number of female FTSE 250 directors has grown from 7.8 per cent to 8.9% since the review was launched.

Within FTSE 100 companies there are still 14 boards without a single female director, compared with 21 six months ago.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron welcomed the progress that has been made, but called on companies to increase the speed of change.

Ruth Sealy, one of the co-authors of the report, said that companies may face legislation if the situation is not addressed.

So far, two-thirds of FTSE 100 companies have failed to set targets for change.

Two companies wholeheartedly embracing the recommendations are Lloyds Banking Group and Rolls-Royce which have promised to increase female representation by between 20 and 23 per cent.

Separately, a recent survey found that female executives are still not earning as much as their male counterparts.

Figures released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) show that men earn £42,441 compared with £31,895 earned by women doing the same jobs, which means a gender pay gap of £10,546.

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